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January is the month in Southern Hemisphere countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America, when summer is at its height and people take their holidays. When people elsewhere take their holidays in July and August, this is “winter” in the Southern Hemisphere when people stay at home and response is at its highest
This is an important period in Asia when many local Chinese (and expatriate individuals and businessmen) take at least a one week holiday. Chinese businessmen frequently take a two-week holiday. Countries affected are: Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Other countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines are marginally affected.
These can be significant holiday periods beginning the Thursday or Friday before Ash Wednesday, affecting the following countries: Germany, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, France, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Bolivia, Luxembourg, Venezuela, Dominica, Aruba, Uruguay, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti.
This affects most Christian countries in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere. Sometimes countries start Holy Week observance from Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday. Others start on Good Friday through Easter Monday, and there are others who observe only Easter Sunday and Monday. The basic point about Easter is that many individuals take a week or more holiday at this time.
The first week of May is widely taken by Japanese as a holiday since they celebrate the following fixed holidays during this week:
Obon is one of the most important events for the Japanese. The period of Obon is in July. Most government offices and companies are closed during this time with most people taking the whole week off. The Obon week is one the few occasions of the year when a large number of Japanese take holidays.
This is a 30-day period of fasting in the Muslim calendar during which strict Muslims do not eat until after sundown. Not all mail gets delivered during this period, and it takes a while for postal administrations to deliver accumulated mail after Ramadan is over. The following countries are most affected by Ramadan: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Maldives, Mali, Tajikistan, Malaysia and Indonesia. The end of Ramadan is marked by the EID AL FITR feast which normally lasts for about 3 days, during which many Muslim families and businessmen take a holiday.
These holiday periods obviously affect mailings into Israel or if you’re mailing to Jewish populations elsewhere.
This is the start of 10 days of penitence that ends with Yom Kippur. This is their day of atonement.
Other major holidays in the Jewish calendar are Hanukkah that lasts for 8 days, and Passover that lasts for one week.
This is another 3 – 4 day holiday which affects Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
National Day in Taiwan falls on October 10, and any large mailing to this country should be avoided around this date since many Taiwanese take a week’s holiday at this time.
Diwali (or Deepavali) is a major Hindu Holiday. It is also known as “Festival of Lights” and is celebrated for five days. Most offices and businesses are closed during this time.
Thanksgiving Day is one of the most important holidays in the US. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a four-day or five-day holiday and is one of the busiest times for travel in the US when people get together with family and friends for a holiday feast.
This is a 4-day holiday period in Muslim countries which marks the culmination of the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage.
This is a national holiday in Japan. The date is determined by the present Emperor’s birthdate. Currently, this is celebrated on December 23rd.
Response from European countries deteriorates during the summer holiday period of June – August (some stop mailing by mid-May), and few global mailers like to see their mail dropped later than early November prior to the Christmas holiday season. September is a big month for mailing globally, so there’s a strong case for getting ahead of the pack by dropping your mailings before the end of August (starting with Southern Hemisphere countries where August is winter and produces strong response). Remember that tests using different international mailing points have shown that “drip-feeding” your mail generates higher response. At all costs, avoid dropping large quantities of mail before or too soon after the major holiday periods listed above.